Maud Hart Lovelace
Originally titled Downtown and published in 1943, Betsy and Tacy go Downtown is the fourth book in Maud Hart Lovelace’s Betsy-Tacy series. Just last month, the last six Besty-Tacy books were reissued, and I had made it my goal to read all of them, including the first four books that are for a younger audience and were not reissued. This coincided with the Maud Hart Lovelace reading challenge going on at A Library is a Hospital for the Mind. Unfortunately, the challenge ends tomorrow, but I knew going into it that I wouldn’t read all ten books. I’m happy to have gotten the first four books read though so that now I can move on to the new reissues.
Downtown is a little more difficult than the first three books but the format is the same. Now Betsy, Tacy and Tib are twelve, and just as spunky as ever! We’re introduced to some new characters; Mrs Poppy is the lonely wife of the owner of the opera house. A portly woman, she is a former actress and seems very glamorous compared to the other women of Deep Valley. We soon learn, however, that she has lost her only daughter, so to fill that void she becomes friendly with Betsy, Tacy and Tib and often invites them over to keep company with her.
Meanwhile, there is also Winona, a spoiled child who often gets special privilages because her father works for the newspaper. At the beginning of the book, she has received four tickets to see the stage version of Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Betsy, Tacy and Tib are dying to go. The next few chapters showcase their deviousness as they try to formulate plans to get an invitation to the play. These exchanges with Winona were my favorite–she was a fun character and able to plot almost as well as Betsy, Tacy and Tib, so their back and forth was fun to read.
I’m glad I’ve now moved on to the rest of the series. While I’ve enjoyed the first four books, I read them only in anticipation for the later books. I wanted to lay all the groundwork for the series, and I figured I would be better off reading the earlier books as opposed to just jumping in in the middle. And now that I have the first four books, I think I may try to get Ally to read them. She’s nine, so that’s a good age, but I’m afraid she’ll find them dull–she prefers scary stories. So we’ll see whether I’m successful or not!